This class is appropriate for writers of all levels. It builds confidence in beginners and challenges experienced writers. The instructor creates a safe, non-threatening environment. ~ Annis

Joan made it easy to get kicked into writing fiction. I’d never written fiction before this class, mainly memoir. The scenario she set up on how to create a story was very freeing. It made me excited to start writing and the character profile outline made it easy to get into the details of a character. It gave a road map from which to jump off. Writing the same story again from a different POV really helped to deepen the characters. You know, the whole trick is getting started without judgement and Joan’s approach does that. We need encouragement to shut down that inner critic. Can’t say enough good stuff. She’s passionate about what she does and it’s infectious. Inspiring and freeing are the key words. ~ Tabi

Joan, you are a good – no – a very good teacher, and it showed in the enthusiasm of the class and the increased confidence each of us gained in the realization of knowing we could write. You set specific parameters for us in limiting the number of words we were to write on each assignment. 1,000 – 1,500 – 2,000 etc. Because I write mostly short stories (1,500 – 2000 words) these factors were what I aimed for. It made me tell my story, hopefully, the whole story, and in the allotted framework you set forth. Your class reminded me of a saying I heard so many years ago that I practiced during the time my wife and I had our own business for over 27 years. Do everything with a KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Not caring for the word Stupid, I changed it to Keep It Simple and Straightforward. That was what I aimed for in my assignments. Thank you ~ Bob

I thoroughly enjoyed Joan Raymond’s Creative Writing class!  From the first class (where we teamed up to create vivid characters stuck in a small space discussing difficult topics) to the last (a fun surprise that I don’t think I’ll spoil), she challenged us to grow as writers while giving us both the tools to do so and the encouragement to think we could. ~ Lea Ann

I took Joan’s Creative Writing Class through the Levan Institute to see if it was possible for me to write anything other than professional documents.  I had convinced myself I would be a complete failure at it. The time in class with was instructional, inspirational and fun. By the end of the course, I had produced four stories I am proud of and have decided to continue writing and taking her classes. Someday, I hope to complete a full novel. ~ Carolyn

I was tentative about undertaking the class. I wasn’t sure I was brave enough to put my ideas and stories out for others to see, critique, or evaluate. The class members were always kind and supportive, sometimes maybe too positive, sometimes it is important to hear a 100% honest reaction. Most were. Joan was great about coaching and coaxing to get me past stumbling blocks or writer’s block. Encouragement to create and develop our ideas was paramount, but there was also an available listening ear to really fine tune a thought or to pinpoint a need in the writing. I feel I blossomed. I have written before, but never in this style. The restrictions and assignments guided specific growth that I needed and still need for my writing. If you give it a try, you will be pleased with your growth like I was. ~ Randy 

I highly recommend Creative Writing taught by Joan Raymond for anyone who has never written fiction, is rusty at writing fiction or is interested in looking at it in another way. It had been over 50 years since I wrote fiction. The number of pointers, innovations, and writing from several points of view improved my overall writing skills. I also belong to a writer’s critique group and this class helped me to look at submissions a bit differently. The weekly exercises, Joan’s pleasant, non-threatening and fun way of presenting, including the encouragement from her and other class members made this a totally enjoyable and informative class. I can’t wait to take it again! ~ Janet 

I took this class in hopes that it would get me back into writing, which it did.  I have not written in a long time and within the first couple of weeks, I am writing all the time. It helped me to find what I loved about writing and helped inspire me to find my voice and creative flow.  I enjoyed the way we came up with ideas and picked from that to create our story that I am going to use that each time. It helped me come up with a story that I was very excited about writing. I am going to continue working on that story for a novella and I have so many ideas about it that I’m trying different ones based on those ideas we came up with in class. The instructor is very knowledgeable about writing, creation, characters, and skill set that made it easy to understand the assignments and how to enhance our writing. I loved the structure of the class and the sharing with the other students. I felt very comfortable and I feel the student involvement came from the leadership of the instructor. Her guidance and editing were very helpful with each story I wrote and she made it sound better each time. I enjoyed this class more than any other I took and I learned a lot. I write every day now and have ideas flowing all the time. Great class. ~ Joanne